Speaker Spotlight Column: Erik van de Velde on Data Modeling

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edw2013-speaker-spotlightby Charles Roe

In an effort to leverage the knowledge of several of the top minds in the Data Management industry, DATAVERSITY™ has been conducting a series of interviews on some of the most relevant topics in the field today. Recently, we interviewed Erik van der Velde, the Program Manager Data Governance at UMCG.

Erik will be giving a presentation at the Enterprise Data World 2013 Conference in San Diego, CA from April 28-May 2, 2013. The session is titled “Tagging Data Governance Issues in a Hospital by Using a Logic Data Business Model.”

The Speaker Spotlight Column (and its parallel venture the Sponsor Spotlight Column) is an ongoing project that focuses on highlighting several of the central issues represented at the many Data Management conferences produced by DATAVERSITY.

The primary emphasis of the interview was to question Erik on his work and history within the industry, with particular importance on his session at the upcoming conference:

DATAVERSITY (DV): Please tell us a little about yourself and your history in the industry e.g role at company (as opposed to job title), past experience and how you got started in the data profession?

Erik van de Velde (EVV): I started my career as a nurse 23 years ago and worked the last 5 years in that profession on a pediatric intensive care unit. Studied Nursing informatics and made my first step in the IT field by developing a ward information system. In those days we didn’t talked about Business Intelligence or ETL processes and hadn’t even heard about data governance, but the essence of gathering data for informational use was the same. It had to be available on time, trusted, unambiguous and used in the right context.

DV: What’s the focus of the work do you currently do within your organization?

EVV: I’m responsible for getting data governance on everyone’s agenda in the organization. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO, a manager, doctor, nurse or administrator. Data has to become that thing that’s always bumping in the back of your mind when you’re busy developing a care plan, setting up a new budget system or defining a diagnosis hierarchy for your application. If data is an asset for you and your organization it is something that has to be governed and must be a part of the discussion about the decisions you make.

DV: What is the biggest change going on in your particular area of the industry at this time?

EVV: In healthcare this will be the reuse of patient data and the continuity of care record. Despite the discussion about privacy, the patient demands more and more that his file is accessible by a physician independent from the hospital where he is working. The patient is getting tired of the fact that they have to tell their problems each time again. For patient safety reasons it is also essential that a physician has access to the patient file, secured and authorized by the patient, in every situation. Furthermore, we see for example an enormous increase in the number of reports that are legal obliged by external stakeholders and a very detailed registration needed for the billing system with insurance company’s legitimate systems in which items are recorded once but can be used many times and in very different situations.

DV: How does such a change affect your job?

EVV: Both subjects combined with issues like risk management, business process management, are preconditioned for our current program. If you want to share or reuse data you need to have a well governed data environment. In our hospital this is not the case. After a decade of a best of breed strategy regarding the use of software in our hospital the appeal for a controlled data environment is getting more and more sponsorships in the organization.

DV: What are you going to discuss during your session at Enterprise Data World and what will the audience gain from attending your talk?

EVV: Most exciting in my presentation is how we developed a logical business data model based on a national reference model for hospitals and translate this to a technical model in which we are able to tag different datagovernance issues and still are able to discuss this with the business without needing an interpreter between IT and business. The extra challenge was that we developed the model for two of the biggest hospitals in the Netherlands with both an application landscape of 900 applications that had to fit in this model.

Furthermore, this presentation is not a happy ending story yet. At this moment we are in the middle of the storm of implementing a data governance environment and organization. The audience will hear the do’s and dont’s of our approach, how you can become a datagovernance evangelist and how you get an organization stay focused on this subject.

DV: How has your job, and/or the work you’re doing at your organization, changed in the past 12 months?  How do you expect it to change in the next 1-2 years?

EVV: The past two years we spend a lot of time in exploring what would be the best approach to position datagovernance in our organization. It resulted in a final report that was adopted by the board of directors. Since 2012 we started our program, using the implementation of a new Hospital Information System as an impetus for several parts of the datagovernance program. In the next two years there will be still a lot of work to be done getting us to a higher level of maturity concerning data governance.

DV: More broadly speaking, what do you believe is the most significant change happening in Enterprise Data at this time?

EVV: In the Netherlands we know a program, setup by Nictiz, the national IT institute for healthcare, called the Unity of language and is about the use of dataset, clinical care records and detailed clinical models in our hospitals. The challenge in our Enterprise data will not be a technical one, because most of the time this isn’t a showstopper but will be the harmonization of the definition of datasets, records and models in our organization and nation wide.

DV: How is Big Data going to affect your job (in your organization) in future?

EVV: I’m not a Big data follower because I think Big data is only an issue when you didn’t governed your data. I think we should be more focused on the complexity of data than the amount of data.

DV: What is something noteworthy about yourself that you would like to tell the conference attendees and our readers that they may not know?

EVV: I will be traveling about 6000 miles and on the day I will give my presentation Crown –Prince Willlem Alexander will have his inauguration in the Netherlands. If you want to know what the relationship is between the inauguration, the color Orange and a good data governance program you have to get up early and come to my presentation.


If you are interested in attending Erik’s presentation at EDW2013, please see the conference schedule at:

The presentation is on Tuesday, April 30, at 7.30am.

About Enterprise Data World:

Enterprise Data World is the business world’s most comprehensive educational event about data and information management. Over five days, EDW presents a diverse schedule of programming that addresses every level of proficiency, including keynotes, workshops, tutorials, case studies, and discussions.


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